If there is one event that sums up Salmon Arm, it would have to be the Salmon Arm (Fall) Fair.
Sure there’s Roots and Blues, but it’s a young whippersnapper at only 22 years compared to the venerable 118th edition of the Salmon Arm (Fall) Fair.
(I put Fall in brackets because, while some people with the fair organization insist that Fall is not part of the name, others seem to be equally passionate that Fall is part of the proper moniker. In fact, the website for the fair has both names included in various spots. I personally favour the Fall Fair version, as it has a nice ring and to me, the fair is the event that ushers in the fall season.)
As a former big city girl, the fair sums up pretty much all that is good about small-town living.
It’s become part of the fabric of my life. Before having children, I took a turn at judging the parade, taking pleasure in handing out the beautiful rosettes and seeing the pride in the faces of those on the receiving end of those ribbons.
And there is a newsroom tradition that has become dear to me, which is to head to the fairgrounds on Friday to view the exhibits at their peak of freshness and partake in a fair-food lunch, which usually includes excessive consumptions of both carbs and fat in the form of mini donuts and fudge.
Becoming a parent cemented my love of the fair. A dear friend of mine has taken a photo every year at “our spot” on the fair route, with the line of children getting longer and older each year.
There was a year when I had just one toddler holding my hand as she attempted to grab every piece of candy thrown in a kilometre-wide radius of her spot. She immediately dubbed the event the Candy Parade, a name which has stuck around my house ever since.
There was the year I hauled my twin infants to the parade in a giant double stroller, despite getting little more than three and a half minutes of sleep the night before, only to have my kind friend gently point out that I was wearing my shirt inside out. Attending the fair trumps any postpartum slump.
Now one of my children has graduated to handing out candy from alongside a float, although the two littler ones are still happily picking up roadside candy from “our spot.”
The other great thing about the fair is the old home week feel. You get a chance to bump into all the people you haven’t seen all summer, or even longer. And in my case, you get a chance to reconnect, while your children wait in line for the bumper cars or to turn their stomachs in the spinning strawberries.
And I always love looking at the displays and especially when I see a familiar name – many times I had no idea that person was a quilter or wine maker or tomato-grower.
There’s a reason events become tradition. It’s because they are valuable and meaningful to our lives.
See you at the fair.